As 'CfD-day' looms for green energy, Able Marine Energy Park is gearing up for a second wind

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 5 Sep 2017

WE’RE days away from potential announcements that could bring another huge tranche of offshore wind work to the area.

September has been flagged up as the month when the Government’s latest auction round for green energy subsidies will be revealed, with both Hornsea Project Two and Triton Knoll in the bidding for Contracts for Difference (CfD).

While the first will bolster the East Coast Hub that is being created in Grimsby by Dong Energy, the second could be the catalyst for Able Marine Energy Park, having now pledged its commitment to the site, if it meets the timeline that a decision this month could very quickly frame.

The privately-owned port development at North Killingholme is primed to play a major role in the Humber’s Energy Estuary ambition, receiving huge backing from the region. 

Conceived in late 2009, and after a planning process that ran for well over three years, consents were finally granted in February 2015, having had to fight rival operator ABP in the courts, as well as through parliament, as it looked to buy vital land to make it happen.

Neil Etherington, group development director at Able UK, said: “There remains a strong appetite and need for the project, and North Lincolnshire Council, Triton Knoll offshore wind farm and the Humber LEP remain steadfast in their support.

“Able remains committed to ensuring that AMEP will be a key player in the continued expansion of the Humber by striving to deliver a world class port facility primarily for the renewable energy sectors.

“Since the concept was first developed, Able has remained resolute in the face of a number of significant challenges, and has characteristically continued ‘to put its money where its mouth is’, while quietly getting on with the job in hand.”

The last two years has seen almost two million tonnes of stone laid, providing the heavy duty ground-bearing capacity required to handle the ever-growing components that make up these huge offshore turbine installations. 

Mr Etherington said the vast majority of conditions relating to the Development Consent Order have now been discharged, with the quay design completed, “with a design specification to provide an installation base for the offshore renewable energy sector and to accommodate the needs of jack-up vessels”.

“While it may have seemed a touch quiet, Able has, put quite simply, been getting on with the job in hand,” Mr Etherington said. “Able continues with the development and retains the very clear view that persistence and patience will see AMEP come to fruition and that, through it all, having the best product will, in the end, prove to be good enough.”

Neil Etherington, Simon Green and Lord Haskins.Dong Energy’s decision not to further a Memorandum of Understanding to build out an assembly base at AMEP was seen as a significant blow to hopes of creating 4,000 jobs on site, though it is understood that would have sucked in the growing facilities at Grimsby. However, Triton Knoll brings a new developer to the Humber, with Innogy and Statkraft behind it. The former is managing the project, and has also just taken 100 per cent ownership of Teesside B, one of four 1.2GW projects that make up the Dogger Bank cluster, off the Yorkshire coast. 

James Cotter, project director at Triton Knoll, the 900MW development off Lincolnshire, said: “We fully support the development of the AMEP facility as a hub for offshore wind construction and supply chain manufacturing. AMEP has the potential to create significant additional employment in the local area, build the Humber’s reputation as the global epicentre for offshore wind, and capture a UK supply chain that will drive the export potential that a post-Brexit Britain needs. As AMEP’s potential first customer, we have spent many months working with Able to help realise these benefits.

“Triton Knoll will use AMEP as a construction base if we can gain certainty in the near future that the quay will be built in time.”

The team at Able is also building a pumping station designed to accommodate a one in 100 year extreme weather event and a 100 year climate change condition, benefiting both the site and the surrounding area. 

Two additional access roads are also being constructed, while ecological mitigation and compensation works are underway. 

Simon Green, executive director for commercial activity at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “We have been steadfast in its support of AMEP and have, through the period from inception to date, enjoyed a strong and collaborative relationship with Able. The project has unique qualities and is central to our own aspirations. By some margin it is the largest element of the UK’s biggest enterprise zone.”

Humber Local Enterprise Partnership has secured substantial funding for enabling works, and Lord Haskins, chairman, was keen to underline the stance. He said: “The Humber LEP has, from day one, been strong advocates of the proposed AMEP development. We share its vision to establish a large and meaningful cluster based on the South Humber Bank and believe that it genuinely represents a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to provide much needed and sustainable economic regeneration. 

“Our enthusiasm, support and commitment has not diminished and as a LEP we are well placed to assist any would-be occupants to bring their plans to fruition.”

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